Dear Abby: My sister’s husband died by suicide several years ago while they were in the middle of a divorce. They’d had a volatile relationship. Both she and her husband treated people very badly. They were bullies, lording it over other people and putting them down.
Her husband left an unkind suicide letter blaming her. But now she talks about him and their relationship as if it’s an amazing love story. She’s now claiming the suicide note was a love letter to her! Incidents in which she behaved badly have morphed into stories in which she was kind and benevolent. Although she complained about our parents and her childhood for many years, she now claims it was “magical.” (It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t magical.)
When she says these things, I cringe inwardly and remain silent. I know she was shocked by her husband’s suicide, and I don’t want to make the situation worse or push her over the edge. She sees a therapist, but I’m pretty sure she isn’t giving her therapist the true story. What she tells me the therapist says doesn’t sound real.
I love my sister even though she has treated me badly many times. I’m concerned that if I confront her with the truth, she will fall apart or rage at me. But I am uncomfortable listening to her revision of history and don’t know how to respond. Any advice?
Dear “Truth”: Your sister has rewritten history because the truth is too hard for her to face. To confront her with the truth would be a waste of time because she will only retreat back into denial. If listening to her tall tales is too much for you, either see and talk to her less often or CHANGE THE SUBJECT.
Dear Abby: I’m a 10-year-old girl who plays violin. The method my teacher uses is private violin lessons and a group one. Sometimes we have them in person, sometimes on Zoom. There’s a girl my age there who thinks I want to be her best friend. She has plenty of friends. I know this because she talks a LOT.
When I’m trying to work on the hard parts, she tries to chat with me. On Zoom, she can’t stop private-chatting me and gets frustrated when I don’t respond. I tried playing with her once, but she’s very self-absorbed and often doesn’t consider what I think. It doesn’t help that our dads are great friends. Am I mean for not wanting to be friends with her, or am I right?
Violins in the West
Dear Violinist: The girl should not be distracting you when you are trying to pay attention to your teacher or practice what you have learned. You are an intelligent girl. Find the courage to tell her you don’t want to chat during class. As to being her “best friend,” because your dad and hers are “great friends,” you probably can’t brush her off completely. But do tell your father how you feel and that she tries to interfere with your violin lessons.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.